BOGNOR Pirates went into their National League game with Portsmouth Smugglers needing to win to have a chance of staying in division three - but ended on the wrong end of a 94-70 defeat.
It started with Pirates getting good looks at the basket and Matt Robbins starting to take control.
Smugglers could not hold the movement and threat from Watson and Lowe but the first quarter ended 19-16 in favour of Portsmouth.
In the second, Portsmouth came out with strong moves and Kirkman took it upon himself to get behind the defence and attack the rim from all angles.
McLaren made aggressive moves, dunking the ball on the break to keep the Pirates within contention, but the ball movement had slowed and the Pirates were struggling with their jump shots. It was 52-31 to the Smugglers at halfway.
With the game and season at risk of slipping from the Pirates, there was a surge of energy at the start of the second half with Wakeling making plays offensively and defensively, culminating in a fantastic cast-to-coast reverse block and reverse lay-up.
This failed to diminish the Smugglers’ offensive capabilities, though.
Pridie showed a spark of life to the offence along with Davenport, who picked up some points, but the third quarter ended 81-46.
In the fourth quarter, Pirates were playing for pride and stepped up the intensity with well-executed moves on the break and in the half-court.
The crowd got behind the Pirates to bid for a monumental comeback and they responded with acrobatic finishes at the basket but it was too little too late as Smugglers withstood the attack and ran away with a 94-70 earned victory.
PIRATES: McLaren 23, Lowe 10, Robbins 10, Wakeling 8, Davenport 6, Roythorne, 6, Watson 5, Pridie 2, Hardyman.